Agnese Agrizzi is the founder and CEO of Ginger Crowdfunding, a company that has been managing the Ideaginger.it platform since 2013 to promote culture and good practices of reward crowdfunding.Ginger, which has launched over the years more than 10 platforms, has raised over 4.5 million euros with a success rate of 90% for more than 420 managed campaigns. During the year, it organizes workshops and training courses, offering 360 ° consultancy services to organizations and businesses that want to design a campaign or develop a crowdfunding platform.

Interview:

1. In the last few weeks we have spent a lot of time stuck at home, thinking about future perspectives. Do you think something has changed in people mindset, especially on topics like sustainability?

Agnese: Undoubtedly this emergency has brought about a change: the crowdfunding market, for example, has seen an upward spike, both in terms of donations and new projects on emergencies, adaptation to lock-down, social and technological innovation in the medium term; the advantage given by the use of digital is certainly a factor that determines its success. Staying at home has not meant being blocked, on the contrary: just think of the workshops organized by Ginger, immediately transformed into webinars, sold-out every week. Above all, in fact, the emergency highlighted the need for managerial skills, strategic culture and new tools to effectively deal with occurrences. A process of integration between technology and soft skills promoted by Ginger since its origins, which covid19 has undoubtedly underscored.


2. You are the founder of an important crowdfunding platform in Italy. What does crowdfunding consist in and what is your opinion on the current trend? Is it relevant for sustainability and circular economy issues?

Agnese: Involving the community on concrete projects, adopting a strong narrative component, represents the pillar of a crowdfunding campaign. Establishing an economic goal to be achieved with the contribution of many within a deadline allows a project to be told in its specificity. Explaining how the funds will be used on one hand creates trust, on the other one represents an opportunity to talk about the way to intervene in the sector. While internally the team works in a strategic way, externally it raises awareness and creates participation collecting the necessary resources.
The integration between concreteness and communication makes crowdfunding an excellent tool for different sectors. With Emilbanca, for example, we organized just a few days ago an event dedicated to "Crowdfunding and territory", which allowed us to tell how the cultural, environmental and hospitality assets and services of our territories should be enhanced also in economic terms. The sustainability of businesses that rely on culture, slow tourism, traditions and ancient crafts, rural and mountain areas is essential. And in this historical moment in particular, we contribute with crowdfunding.

3. Have you ever worked on a project focused on sustainability?

Agnese: About the partnership with Emilbanca, a project that we recently supported together comes to my mind: 'Un pontile per Baura!'. The fundraising campaign aims at creating a new tourist route through one of the canals that crosses Ferrara, in order to allow the visitor to move around and explore the natural landscapes and neighbouring towns of the city. An experience that explains how crowdfunding goes beyond the collection of economic resources, although essential: involving the community, allowing the supporter to feel the project his own one and making him be the first to participate and promote the initiative.
On our platform we observe every day that the desire to make a contribution is high, even on environmental issues. "Và sentiero" is a project which involves a team of six youngsters who, on the pretext of following 'Sentiero Italia', 7,000 km that cross the high lands of our peninsula, wants to give voice to the mountain communities and their wealth, their products and their wonderful hospitality. This team is financing its business with crowdfunding, that has allowed it to collect over 60,000 euros from thousands of people who joined and experienced the way too. This, along with others, is the first step for creating a new economic and ethically responsible supply chain.


4. What are the characteristics of a crowdfunding campaign focused on sustainable projects?

Agnese: Sustainability must be built over time, it does not happen by chance and it is not induced by sanctions; it is instead a cultural process. The funds are certainly important to finance it, but with no doubts, in order to make these actions effective, there must be community participation for the inherent campaign. Taking as example the case previously mentioned, 'Un pontile per Baura!', the fact that a cooperative bank is involved, giving significant support to the project, allows to strengthen the territory on its roots, thus becoming economically sustainable and participated. For years we have been working with companies that want to testify their attention to the community through co-financing the crowdfunding campaigns proposed by the third sector; this method of intervention is particularly suitable for the sustainability sector. We are already working in this direction also with public bodies, that in this way reward useful, new and sustainable projects of their territories or sectors over the time.


5. What do you think will be the next big crowdfunding trend?

Agnese: I look forward to seeing an increasing use of reward crowdfunding by companies and start-ups as a tool for launching products and services. A pre-sale campaign with crowdfunding is an excellent tool to anticipate the 'go to market' by testing their market and reducing business risk. Furthermore, using crowdfunding in a seed phase means being able to use one's own history as an entrepreneur and underscoring particular elements, for innovation or quality offered, which distinguish one's own company.
We are also receiving a lot of interest from the public administration to which we proposed the crowdfunding as an innovative financing tool for the third sector and training companies; indeed, we have recently launched a beautiful project with the Municipality of Milan.

6. What is Ginger's next big goal?

Agnese: From 2018 to 2019 we had a 90% growth rate on the funds raised and projects followed. It would be a great satisfaction to confirm a positive trend for this year, guaranteeing high-end technological and consultancy services. Ginger has always stood out for the quality of the offer; we therefore hope to further expand our stakeholder base, while maintaining our standard of effectiveness.